Kansas health officials are preparing to start giving booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.Last Friday, the first step was completed in COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted 18-0 in favor of a Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose for adults aged 65 and over and individuals aged 16 and over at high risk for COVID-19.They did not recommend boosters for all individuals aged 16 and over. The committee had concerns about the lack of robust data, especially safety data in younger populations. They felt that a booster dose would not significantly impact or mitigate the state of the pandemic.However, there are three steps that still need to happen before certain Kansans can receive a booster shot. Here is what still needs to happen:1) FDA authorization of booster dose. The FDA is expected to authorize a booster vaccine for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine early this week.2) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendation. The ACIP is scheduled to meet on Wednesday and Thursday this week to consider the authorization from the FDA regarding booster doses. The ACIP recommendation will likely provide more specifics as it relates to the length of time after initial series completion, eligible age groups and identified high-risk groups.3) CDC director approval. Following the ACIP meeting, the CDC director will make a final decision to approve, amend or reject the ACIP recommendations. Only this final decision by the CDC Director will allow for providers to begin administering booster doses.In August, an additional dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was approved for individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. These additional doses are not considered booster doses and remain available.
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